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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Woche 18- FLOOOOOD!!!

Lieber Familie!
Grüß euch!
What a week it has been, once again, I lay awake in bed sunday night and I wonder how I ever managed to survive it all. But we are alive and thats all that matters! I have a testimony that the Lord protects and strengthens his missionaries!
So, the beginning of the week was still cold and rainy as ever. We were having a difficult time getting ahold of our investigators, so we just went out in the rain Monday night with a list of inactive members who we could stop by and talk too! Unfortunately we just came back with nothing but wet socks. The people seem to behave like the weather sometimes... when its nice and warm, everyone wants to stop and talk. When its cold and rainy, in june, people just glare at you angrily. We tried to make the best of it though! Monday night we actually got the call though, that Aggsbach dorf (where our ward mission leader lives) was half under water! Because of all the rain for the past few weeks, the major rivers in Germany and Austria have all flooded 15 meters high! He said it was really bad, and once the water went down, they would need our help to shovel the 'slam' (mud) away before it dried up and the water was gone. But that probably wasnt until friday so we didnt worry ourselves too much.
Tuesday we had district meeting in Wien, followed up by the transfer-district lunch by Herbs- worlds best Wiener Schnitzel! I really wish Americans could understand what Wiener Schnitzel actually is- NOT a hot dog. Absolute opposite. Its so incredibly delicious and humongous. We also got to have an Austausch! So I took Elder Morrill back to St. Pölten with me. Even still, it was pouring cats and dogs. We first had an appointment in the Church with Andrea- our prime referal from Bruder Bauer. BUT she came, needed to use a church computer, so we waited an HOUR while she used the computer, then she got up, said she needed to go home and LEFT. we were pretty bummed we didnt get to teach anything, but luckily Br. Bauer forgot his Buch Mormon, so they came back quick, and we got a 5 minute spiritual thought in before they left. After attempting to visit a few more less actives in the pouring rain, we had probably the COOLEST lesson Ive had so far on my mission. His name is Reinhard- hes a Jehovahs Witness that we met on the street 5 weeks ago. Im not sure if I said already, but there are a LOT of Jehovahs Witnesses in St. Pölten, and they are street preachers too. So usually we get mistaken for them. But, he let us in because he was interested in hearing about the Book of Mormon. I gave the introduction after we said a prayer, then he whipped out the big guns. He has a long list of question and bible scriptures already prepared, and we could tell he wanted to bible bash. His first question was about baptism for the dead, and why our church does it. He shared all kinds of scriptures about why man needs to work out his own salvation, with no one else. Elder Morrill just stared at me, so I went to the only bible scripture I could think of. Corinthians 15:29- the evidence of baptism for the dead in the bible. And a miracle happened. He sat there and stared at the scripture for a while, he had nothing to say, then he put his list away. He was stumped! He just kinda sat there quietly, so I shared Moroni 7:12-13 about how all good things come from God, and we both bore our testimony of the book of mormon to him. I dont know if I have felt the spirit so strong before... and we sat about 2 minutes in silence while he just flipped through the book reading passages. The thought came to my mind, ask him how he feels right now. Before I could say anything, Elder Morrill says 'How are you feeling!' It was so powerful, he just said 'I need time to think. When can you come back so we can talk more?' So we set a return appointment! Coolest lesson ever!
Wednesday unfortunately, as we were walking to Schwester Sindl for lunch, Reinhard called. He told us he loved our meeting, he felt great, BUT he said he couldnt possibly believe that something more than the bible exists. He just kept talking, and before I could say anything he hung up. It was really dissapointing, but I know he felt it, so I dont know what more we could have done. Schwester Sindl cooked us Schitzel for lunch, so that was the second time in 2 days! We all had a good laugh about that... until that evening, when Br. Bauer called and said meet him at the church at 18:00. HE had odered schnitzel for us too! 3 Times! Needless to say we were pretty full of schnitzel after that.
Thursday is when it got crazy. We got the call in the morning, that our help was needed in Aggsbach to clean up the flood damage. So we suited up and took the first train possible. It was quite the scene! The water was already receding, but it left SO MUCH mud behind- people houses were pretty much filled with mud. For those who know about the cherry season, it was a little surreal to pull on some water boots, grab a push broom and a shovel, and get to work cleaning up! One of the yards we were working in actually had 5-6 cherry trees, so there were even cherries floating in the water and all over in the mud! It was like being back on the farm! but not really. There were big tractors driving all over shoving dirt around, and we just bought one wheelbarrow after another down to the river filled with mud. We spent the better part of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there in the dorf. And we met some really cool people too!
The craziest part of all of it, was the transfer call friday morning. Elder Janis is leaving, to become the zone leader of the new zone they are forming in our mission to accomidate all the missionaries... and I got called as a trainer! that means on thursday Im going to get a greenie as a comp! I have no idea what his name is yet, but Im pretty humbled by the opportunity to train another missionary! Its a pretty huge resposibilty, taking care of someone who can essentially speak no german. I guess it will take a lot of prayer, but I think we will survive!
That was my week in a nutshell! I sure love you guys, and I hope all goes well. Please pray for me and my greenie... 2 Americans, attempting to survive in Austria! Its going to be crazy!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

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